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REVIEW: Attempted assassination on Ortom — Some unpopular talking points

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Some billions allegedly disappear from Benue’s N14.9bn Paris Club refunds

The Nigerian populace must have thought the country could not witness any more surprising carnage with the widespread insecurity until news filtered that the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom was attacked by suspected gunmen in an assassination attempt.

A group known as the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) claimed responsibility for the attack on the convoy of the governor.

The shadowy group in a statement by one Umar Amir Shehu said the attack was an assassination attempt on the governor.

FUNAM claimed that it carried out the assault as revenge for the governor’s actions against the Fulani people.

It said 11 of its members executed that raid, noting that the governor escaped because of a slight technical communication error.

“Our courageous fighters carried out this historic attack to send a great message to Ortom and his collaborators: Where ever you are, once you are against Fulani long term interest, we shall get you down. This is a clear warning. We hope those who take us for granted will get the indisputable message,” FUNAM threatened.

The group also threatened to sponsor attacks on Ortom, any state or individual that opposes the implementation of Rural Grazing Area (RUGA).

Tons of analyses have been carried out by political observers regarding the degradation in the country’s security architecture but a curious mind may wonder what happens to the security votes being accrued by the state governments every month.

The security votes are monthly funds (which cannot be audited) and runs into billions of naira. According to various findings, this vary based on the level of security required by the individual state.

Security votes have not been widely accepted by citizens, as most have claimed that such funds are being abused by the state governments, because how the funds are disbursed is not accountable to any agency.

A human right activist and member of the Ekiti State Judicial Commission, Kabir Akingbolu during an interview on August 13, 2019 said, “The least a State Governor collects as security vote in Nigeria at the moment, is N300 million per month. As poor as Ekiti is under Fayose, it was getting N350 million monthly. That tells you that, some other states can be collecting as high as N900 million per month.”

Read also: IGP orders probe into suspected assassination attempt on Gov Ortom

Therefore, it is befuddling to see the skyrocketing of criminal activities considering the fact that security vote allowances for governors to curb the trend are increasing annually.

This further lends credit to the reason why the average Nigerian shows no remorse whenever a member of the ruling class encounters a misfortune.

State governors are reportedly not utilizing funds for the purpose they are meant for, which justifies call for probes by the national assembly as well as thorough investigation by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Bolaji Owasanoye, the ICPC Chairman said these probes were necessary because accountability was crucial to fighting corruption which is important to national security and development.

He further explained that security votes were an easy and attractive route for stealing public funds and a veritable avenue for abuse of public trust and escalation of poverty.

“In other words, the permission of appropriation for security votes has ironically pushed up rather than diminish insecurity.

“This is because the money that should ordinarily be available for social and economic development is appropriated as security votes and used discretionarily,” he argued.

He said there was a lacuna in the budgeting process and a lack of guiding principles on security votes.

The lack of accountability, transparency and credibility in the process of how security votes are being managed has provided an atmosphere for the funds to grow wings and fly into unguarded territories thereby forcing the masses to face the brunt of kidnapping, banditry, police extortion and police brutality.

At this point in time, it is pertinent that governors should be held accountable for how the security votes are being used to secure citizens of the various 36 states.

So, shouldn’t it be time to expressly remind Nigeria’s political leaders about relevant sections of the country’s constitution that promote security and welfare of the Nigerian people as the primary purpose of government, but which mismanagement, misappropriation, unaccountability and unproductivity have made the bane of leadership?

By Mayowa Oladeji…

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